The emotional gymnastics of meeting and impressing the girlfriend’s father has been the premise of many a romantic comedy (Robert de Niro in the Meet The Parents franchise will always be a staple). For Filipino men who remain respectful of the courtship process, it’s of prime importance to be in the father’s good graces. But is there a one-shot formula for impressing every dad out there? Sadly, the pogi points that got you in with her friends and siblings don’t necessarily apply here. It’s all about showing your ability to protect and provide...without making it seem like you’re taking his daughter away forever.
Your on-paper persona should be driven and goal-oriented
Plenty of Pinoy dads still veer on the traditional side—in that the ideal man to be dating their daughter would be steadily and gainfully employed, display masculine traits without being too commanding, and come from a good family background. “Ayan, si ano, doktor ‘yan,” or “Si ano, may sariling negosyo ‘yan,” the titas are likely to whisper. Baby boomers, man, what can ya do? But you don’t have to have a six-figure salary or a law school degree; what you do need to exude is a vibe of sureness and drive about you. There’s nothing more impressive than somebody who is goal-oriented and knows exactly what they want in life. No matter your profession or economic standing, fathers like to know their daughter isn’t wasting her time with a deadbeat.
Engage him in common interests
This is possibly your easiest way in—if both of you follow the NBA, watch the same documentaries on Netflix, or enjoy the same hobbies, bingo, instant conversation starter. But what if it feels like you’re on two different worlds? Three words: Ask. Him. Questions. Lots of them. Dads love it when you’re genuinely interested in what they’re good at; their good attitude towards that sort of subliminally transfers to you. (Just don’t overdo it.)
Form a rapport with the family, too
If your girlfriend’s warned you beforehand that her dad will not be easy to please, the tendency is to overfocus on the dad...that everybody else sort of fades into the background. But if you’re meeting the whole family for the first time, it’s important to show her father that you’re able to socialize with the rest of them, too. Otherwise he’ll catch on to your agenda. It helps to ask your girlfriend to give you a briefing on each family member and to bring a gift that everyone will appreciate (a good dessert is always a safe bet). Then, as you spend more and more time with the family, the key is to show her dad how effortlessly you fit into their bunch, whether it’s hanging out with your GF’s cousins without her, or being able to enjoy beers with the titos.
Show him you can be counted on during a crisis
If you can step up your game during a time of need, it’ll show her father that you’re reliable. Dads just want their daughters to be with someone who can step up when the situation calls for it.
Examine your relationship with your girlfriend
This can only go two ways. Either her dad warms up to you, or he doesn’t. If it’s the latter, then it’s not a total dead end—you can still turn the tables as time passes. But at the end of the day, this relationship is between you and your girlfriend. Are you making each other better people? Are you growing and learning together? The effects of that mutual growth manifest themselves in ways that you might not see, but her parents will. Always remember: It’s not just the moms—dads have intuition, too.